Sunday, December 31, 2006
most improved dj: tancred dickens (2005 winner. he means business!)
best record collection: tiernan (2005, 2004, 2003, 2002… winner)
most annoying neighbour: tancred dickens’ neighbour.
most promising natural product: a blazing red-hot chili pepper
biggest sporting disappointment: the washington redskins (again)
best sporting event attended: ama superbike race alton, va
worst shopping experience: walmart @ alton, va
best individual sporting performance: floyd llandis
best performance-enhancing drug user : see above
worst sporting coverage: nbc’s coverage of the winter olympics from turin, italy
best sporting audio heard: radio 5 alive coverage of england vs. france rugby game. referee turns to the england captain and says “i can’t be held responsible for the lack of skill in your team”
television, and the nfl, are still too busy stopping the game to advertise, and players drawing attention to themselves by showing off every time they do something right, to actually arrive at something approaching this level of non-visual coverage.
most absurd argument: intelligent design
best convincing argument: evolution (again)
most promising argument: climate change
most ridiculous indicator: the terrorist threat advisory (again)
worst person to hand a gun to: dick cheney
most worrying world leader: ...too easy
most aggressive supermodel: naomi campbell
most annoying tv ads: all pick up truck commercials
most annoying tv ad feature: a dead heat between the token black dude in food and car commercials, and the always-present fake sunshine, lighting up every smiling face, wherever they are, in every room, mysteriously at any angle, at any time. (that is some clever sunlight. i call it 'kennedy sunshine').
most absurd tv ad: cialis commercials (36 hours...)
best tv ad: lebron james nike pool commercial
best computer team: team nutty (of course)
best dinner party hosts: equal tie between kenny & milena, and redha & andrea
most discussed topic of party conversation: beesh’s ‘ain…
HAPPY NEW YEAR! ;)
Saturday, December 30, 2006
from the bbc:
Man who lost trousers dialled 999
Emergency call handlers were left "in disbelief" when a man dialled 999 because he could not find his trousers.
The man was one of four people who inappropriately rang for an ambulance in the early hours of Saturday, during a busy night for the emergency service.
Another caller rang from Birmingham's Broad Street to say a 32-year-old "couldn't walk from too much dancing".
from the republican party:
President Bush is committed to keeping the nation strong and secure through strengthening our military, deploying a missile defense system, strengthening the NATO alliance and supporting military families andveterans.
has this guy got an unusually small pecker or something? was he the kid looking out the window with his brain shut off during world history lessons, or was he too busy practicising isolating himself from reality at an early age?
you can tell a great deal about a person by the company they keep. judging by the ‘dream team’ of karl rove, dick cheney, donald rumsfeld, and condoleeza rice, together, they make an analyst’s field day.
any idiot can drive fast in a straight line, but it’s how they handle the bends that separates drivers. bush’s complete incapability in dealing with hurricane katrina will never be forgotten, nor should it be forgiven. for the country’s leader to walk into that hangar, and say to that other idiot, michael brown, that he’d done a ‘heck of a job’ showed bush to be a president so callously isolated from his public, that he wasn’t seeing what everyone else was. can you imagine winston churchill in the same circumstances….?
now hussein’s been hanged. i don’t think anyone’s going to cry too much over this tyrant’s death. his appalling human rights violations have been all too well documented. it’s a shame then, that the united states supported him when it suited their purposes.
how about that photo of rummy shaking hands with saddam the very same day that the united nations released a report that iraq had used mustard gas and tabun against iranian troops, and on march 29th, 1984, a report in the new york times stated that "American diplomats pronounce themselves satisfied with Iraq and the U.S., and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been established in all but name."
Dec 18th 2006
ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT TO THE NATION
…..Next week, Americans will gather to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. Many families will be praying for loved ones spending this season far from home – in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other dangerous places. Our Nation joins in those prayers. We pray for the safety and strength of our troops. We trust, with them, in a love that conquers all fear, and a light that reaches the darkest corners of the Earth. And we remember the words of the Christmas carol, written during the Civil War: “God is not dead, nor [does] He sleep; the Wrong shall fail, the Right prevail, with peace on Earth, good-will to men.”
Thank you, and good night.
tell me, mr. president. is that last passage consistent with the image of rumsfeld shaking hands with hussein, and hussein being hanged by men wearing casual clothes wearing ski masks?
is that the culmination of the $350 billion of taxpayers money spent on an uninvited occupation, ~3,000 american servicemen deaths, and the estimated 650,000 iraqi deaths?
is this your brave, new iraqi democracy in the middle east?
if so, they dress an awful lot like the IRA from the 1970’s and 80’s…
Friday, December 29, 2006
from the new york times:
F.D.A. Says Food Cloned Animals Is Safe
well! that’s a relief. if the F.D.A. or the E.P.A. say it’s o.k. there’s absolutely nothing to worry about…
i mean, it’s not as if government policy is actually driving the science…
Thursday, December 28, 2006
from the new york times:
Filed at 9:31 p.m. ET
Ice Mass Snaps Free From Canada's Arctic
TORONTO (AP) -- A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said. The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 497 miles south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north. Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.
Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.
''This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are loosing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years. We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead,'' Vincent said Thursday.
In 10 years of working in the region he has never seen such a dramatic loss of sea ice, he said.
The collapse was so powerful that earthquake monitors 155 miles away picked up tremors from it.
The Ayles Ice Shelf, roughly 41 square miles in area, was one of six major ice shelves remaining in Canada's Arctic.
Scientists say it is the largest event of its kind in Canada in 30 years and point their fingers at climate change as a major contributing factor.
''It is consistent with climate change,'' Vincent said, adding that the remaining ice shelves are 90 percent smaller than when they were first discovered in 1906.
''We aren't able to connect all of the dots ... but unusually warm temperatures definitely played a major role.''
…anyone seen ‘an inconvenient truth’?
from the bbc:
PM 'paying' for Bee Gee home stay
Tony Blair is paying to use the Florida home of the Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, Downing Street has said…..
…..Mr Gibb was seen in public with Mr Blair at a Labour rally in May 2005, ahead of the general election. The singer launched that Huddersfield event and Mr Blair described him as one of his heroes.
heroes? what has he done that is heroic, then, ‘ton?
i didn’t know, so i typed ‘the heroic acts of robin gibb’ into google, in case tony blair knew something i didn’t.
this is the second entry..
The Petty Details of So-and-So’s Life - Camilla Gibb (8/10) borrow ... She Got Up Off The Couch:
from the bbc:
Bush meets top advisers over Iraq
US President George W Bush has been meeting senior advisers at his Texas ranch as he builds a new Iraq strategy.
It is not yet known which other recommendations from the report by the Iraq Study Group the president intends to adopt.
…but a spokesman speaking on condition of anonymity said that the president intends to look at the title, followed by a blank sheet of paper…
from the new york times:
U.S. Scolds Israel on Plan for West Bank Settlement
WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 — In a rare public rebuke to Israel, the Bush administration said Wednesday that an Israeli plan to construct a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank for the first time in 10 years could violate the terms of an American-backed peace proposal.
apparently the situation is so heated, they are actually talking about sending one less case of champagne to the embassy of israel, in Washington, d.c. on new year's eve...
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
A Message from John Cleese to the citizens of the United States of America --
In light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA
and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation
of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical
duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (excepting
Kansas , which she does not fancy).
Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for
America without the need for further elections. Congress and the
Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year
to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following
rules are introduced with immediate effect:
(You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary)
1. Then look up aluminium, and check the pronunciation guide. You
will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and
'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without
skipping half the letters and the suffix -ize will be replaced by the
suffix -ise. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary
to acceptable levels (look up 'vocabulary').
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises
such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form
of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let
Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be
adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the
elimination of '-ize'. You will relearn your original national anthem,
God Save The Queen.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and
therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.
6. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough
to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist
then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun. Therefore, you will
no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a
vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a
vegetable peeler in public.
7. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what
8. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will
start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you
will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of
conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you
understand the British sense of humour.
9. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been
calling gasoline) -- roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French
fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling
potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut,
fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
11. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not
actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be
referred to as Beer, and European brews of known and accepted
provenance will be referred to as Lager. American brands will be
referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold
without risk of further confusion.
12. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to
play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English
dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to
having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
13. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind
of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough
will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities
to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every
twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like a bunch of
14. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to
host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played
outside of America .. Since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a
world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
15. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
16. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's
Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all
monies due (backdated to 1776).
17. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, never
mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; strawberries in
Schwarzenegger’s Leg Is Repaired in Surgery
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 26 (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s broken leg was put back together with wires and screws on Tuesday, and he should make a full recovery, though he will probably be on crutches during his inauguration next week, officials said.
Mr. Schwarzenegger will remain hospitalized for three days, and his full recovery will take about eight weeks, Dr. Ehrhart said
.…was put back together?, and will remain hospitalized for three days? what like his leg was in several pieces all over the mountain, give me a break!
this may come as a bit of a shock to hollywood and the new york times, but someone who actually really does have to have their leg put back together isn’t leaving a hospital in three weeks, let alone three days.....!
from the bbc:
Blair flight in runway confusion
A British Airways plane carrying 343 passengers and crew including Tony Blair and his family has overrun the main runway at Miami Airport.
No-one on board the Boeing 747-400 plane was injured after the incident.
BA said the pilot could not see the lights leading to the taxiway - causing him to hit more lights - and the plane had to be realigned.
Mr Blair was on his way to stay with Bee Gees star Robin Gibb at his house in Miami Beach.
no doubt ‘ol tony was keeping everyone calm in first class by singing his favourite bee gees hit:
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
from the new york times:
Flaws Are Detected in Microsoft’s Vista
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 24 — Microsoft is facing an early crisis of confidence in the quality of its Windows Vista operating system as computer security researchers and hackers have begun to find potentially serious flaws in the system that was released to corporate customers late last month.
On Dec. 15, a Russian programmer posted a description of a flaw that makes it possible to increase a user’s privileges on all of the company’s recent operating systems, including Vista. And over the weekend a Silicon Valley computer security firm said it had notified Microsoft that it had also found that flaw, as well as five other vulnerabilities, including one serious error in the software code underlying the company’s new Internet Explorer 7 browser.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Gunmen Open Fire in Crowded Florida Mall
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- One person was shot to death and three gunmen arrested at a crowded mall on Christmas Eve, prompting police to evacuate the building in a search for more possible suspects, authorities said.
merry christmas everyone - except, of course, the person that was shot to death on christmas eve, that is...i'm sure his family and friends will all be out buying each other guns as presents next year...
it’s been a good week for team nutty climateprediction.net
team nutty total credits 50,872.28 ranked 1,323
in world rankings, i overtook:
North Carolina State University total credits 50,699.19 ranked 1,326
George Mason University total credits 50,587.08 ranked 1,329
Team Chewbacca total credits 50,566.86 ranked 1,330
Oklahoma State University total credits 50,353.88 ranked 1,333
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice always occurs on or about December 21 and marks the beginning of the winter season. As many people notice, it's the shortest day of the year, featuring the least amount of daylight between sunrise and sunset.
In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the time of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. From now on, as the northern days grow longer so do the southern days get shorter.
The term solstice means "sun stands still." On the year's two solstices (winter and summer) the sun appears to halt in its incremental journey across the sky and change little in position during this time. Of course, contrary to appearances from Earth, the sun's "changing position" throughout the year is actually caused by the rotation of the Earth on its tilted axis as it circles the sun each year.
The solstice occurs twice a year (around December 22nd and June 21st) when the sun is farthest from the tilting planet's celestial equator.
For half of each year the North Pole is tilted toward the sun, and for half of the year the South Pole enjoys that privilege. This phenomenon creates our changing seasons, because the hemisphere facing the sun receives longer and more powerful exposure to sunlight.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs in December when the tilting of the earth makes the sun appear to be furthest to the south and furthest away. In the Southern Hemisphere, both the seasons and solstices are reversed.
contrary to popular ignorance about anything related to astronomy, the changing seasons on earth are caused by the earth's 23 1/2 degree tilt on it's axis, and not because the earth is any closer or farther from the sun.
by the way, the diagram is not to scale. the sun is ENORMOUS! it has a volume 1.3 million times that of the earth...
to give you some sense of how much bigger that is, imagine you had to construct 2 boxes, one representing the earth, the other the sun. both boxes must be to scale.
to make things easy, let's say we make the first box equal to 1ft long x 1 ft wide x 1ft deep.
now, that's the planet earth. in order to make our second box to scale, were going to need a much bigger box.
this box will have sides of 246 miles long x 246 miles wide x 246 miles deep...
from the new york times:
Bush Asserts That Victory in Iraq Is Still ‘Achievable’
…..the president showed no indication that he was inclined to change goals or pull out of Iraq.
“Victory in Iraq is achievable,” Mr. Bush said, addressing reporters in the ornate Indian Treaty Room across the street from the White House, in a historic office building once used by the Navy. He added, “Our goal remains a free and democratic Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself and is an ally in the war on terror.”
so, let me me get this straight. the response to the iraq study group is to not only ignore it’s recommendations, but to do the opposite, increase troop levels.
it's like a scene out of 'black adder goes forth'...
from the bbc:
'Karaoke boost' for N Korea troops
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is reported to have found a rousing way of boosting morale among his troops - by giving them karaoke machines.
He said karaoke sessions eased tensions in the ranks, but also encouraged competitiveness, state media reported.
however, north korean soldiers have complained bitterly about the lack of life, variety, and spice in the playlist, suggesting that Kim Jong-il immediately contact christine moritz, since the only track that they are allowed to hear and sing at the moment is “you’re the one that i want”.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
there is one man on this blue, fragile, planet earth we call home.
a man who has, on occasion, stood tall amongst mates.
there have been dark moments, though.
numerous and recent. disturbing, and worrying.
who would have thought at the dawn of the 21st century, mankind would pay witness to such horror.
i am talking about capsicum giganticus rosso.
a plea in the early hours of a cold, stark, dawn went unanswered,
giggles, silence. empty, vacuous promises, can bring so much inner pain,
but not quite like that of a red hot chili, in one's 'ain....
from the new york times:
Cost of Wars Rises
Government spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will exceed the Bush administration’s original estimate of $110 billion for the 2007 fiscal year, and is likely to top $120 billion, White House officials said. That would set a record for annual wartime spending under President Bush. In an interview, the White House budget director, Rob Portman, said his original $110 billion estimate would “end up being low.” Congress has already approved $70 billion in emergency spending for the war, and Mr. Portman’s office is preparing an additional emergency request. Mr. Portman said he did not know what the final figure would be, but a senior administration official said it was “highly unlikely” that total wartime spending for 2007 would fall below the record $120 billion spent in 2006.
if those numbers don’t mean much to you, try $3,805 a second…
that's $13,698,000 an hour...
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
from the bbc:
Japanese finds scorpion in jeans
A Japanese woman trying on a pair of jeans in a shop got a shock when she was stung by a scorpion hidden inside.
The woman, on the southern island of Okinawa, ended up in hospital for five days as a result of the sting, which was not life-threatening.
Gap officials refused to be drawn into comment on their new line of Wildlife-Danger series, Retro-Hip, Shed-skin Fit, Sting-Jeans.
from the new york times:
Talk in Class Turns to God, Setting Off Public Debate on Rights
KEARNY, N.J. — Before David Paszkiewicz got to teach his accelerated 11th-grade history class about the United States Constitution this fall, he was accused of violating it.
Shortly after school began in September, the teacher told his sixth-period students at Kearny High School that evolution and the Big Bang were not scientific, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah’s ark, and that only Christians had a place in heaven, according to audio recordings made by a student whose family is now considering a lawsuit claiming Mr. Paszkiewicz broke the church-state boundary.
“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong,” Mr. Paszkiewicz was recorded saying of Jesus. “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”
alright class, next week we’re going to be discussing the hugely popular book around here that i know you’re all reading, the minute my back's turned after sunday school: richard dawkins – the god delusion..
from the bbc:
Top cardinal dreams of Vatican FC
A senior Roman Catholic cardinal says he hopes the Vatican may one day field a football team good enough to compete with Italy's top sides.
can't wait for a clash against millwall...
Monday, December 18, 2006
from the new york times:
20 Million Years and a Farewell
The first species to be erased from this planet’s great and ancient Order of Cetaceans in modern times is not one of the charismatic sea mammals that have long been the focus of conservation campaigns, like the sperm whale or bottlenose dolphin.
elsewhere in the news,
Bush Approves Deal With India for Nuclear Sales
“This is an important achievement for the whole world,” Mr. Bush said during a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House. “After 30 years outside the system, India will now operate its civilian nuclear program under internationally accepted guidelines, and the whole world is going to be safer as a result.”
george bush seems not merely to be content with the title of worst president ever, but appears to be keen on playing an instrumental part in history as being a keystone individual in the quest of the human species to ‘self-erase’ themselves.
and the whole world is going to be safer as a result...
from the new york times:
Replacing Rumsfeld, Gates Issues Warning on Iraq
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 – Robert M. Gates became secretary of defense today, pledging to rely on advice from the uniformed military professionals and convey his own no-holds-barred opinions to the White House.
“We simply cannot afford to fail in the Middle East,” Mr. Gates said. A failure in Iraq would haunt the United States “for decades to come,” he said.
this may come a bit of a shock, bobby, g, but any rational thinking human on the planet would say that the united states has ‘already failed’. and yes, that means that this failure ‘will’ haunt, not ‘would’ the united states for decades to come.
can nobody in this administration own up to the fact that it is already too late?
it appears not.
oh, by the way, bushy; you have absolutely nothing to smile about.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
from the bbc:
Jackson puts off Tokyo appearance
US pop star Michael Jackson has postponed an appearance at a Christmas party in Japan, where tickets cost up to 400,000 yen (£1,787)
This is obviously a typo. The correct headline should have read:
Tokyo put off by Jackson’s appearance..
Saturday, December 16, 2006
from the bbc:
Nintendo respond to Wii breakages
The announcement follows reports about the wrist straps breaking during use, leading to the controller slipping out of hands, smashing TVs and windows.
I got one of the first Wii but after a few minutes playing the strap broke and the controller shot off and hit my partner in the face resulting in two broken teeth. She slipped at the same time falling into the TV set and smashing the screen. The TV was plugged into the surround sound system and consequently pulled it over and smashing into my CD and DVD collection. I advise anyone to be careful of the wii
Jenny Howard, Beijing China
i advise anyone not to go round jenny howard’s house…
from the bbc:
US scientists reject interference
Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process.
The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy.
According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, data is being misrepresented for political reasons.
It claims scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives.
The Union has released an "A to Z" guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education.
Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity.
...that's just great...
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Islamist Quest for Bush Game
(CNN) -- A video game that prompts players to kill characters that look like President Bush has been posted on a number of Islamist Web sites.
The game is called "Quest for Bush," or "The Night of Bush Capturing."
Players are prompted to advance through six missions against soldiers who look like Bush, followed by a seventh mission against a character that looks like the president that takes place in a desert-like region. During the game, jihadist songs are played in the background.
The video game says it is produced by the Global Islamic Media Front, which is described by the SITE Institute as "a jihadist mouthpiece organization."
SITE -- Search for International Terrorist Entities -- is a research organization that specializes in terrorists and terrorist groups.
The Bush game appears to be based on previously released games. One called "Quest for al Qaeda" was issued after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and another called "Quest for Saddam," issued after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The latest version of the game contains the phrase, "Quest for Bush."
From game politics:
Now comes word that a member of Parliament is urging British police to take action against the game's creators. As reported by today's Sun, Labor Party MP Andrew Dismore has called for a probe into Night of Bush Capturing. The shadowy organization which produced the game, the Global Islamic Media Front, is apparently based in the U.K.
"The police should prosecute whoever is behind this," said Dismore. "Soliciting murder is a serious criminal offence and the producers of this game should be dealt with."…
that's pretty rich! while you’re at it, you might want to take a peek at ‘america’s army’, put out BY the US army, featuring the official US army logo on the home page.
Along with its unusually realistic weaponry, America's Army features unusually detailed visuals powered by the latest version of Epic's Unreal engine. Other than some occasional clipping and the lack of lip-synching for your training instructors, the game generally looks superb. The models, textures, and visual effects usually match or surpass those found in today's top shooters. Attention to detail abounds, from the little patches on a sergeant's uniform, to the moths swarming around an outdoor light at night, to the sophisticated reloading animations. The dense clouds that spew from smoke grenades and the brilliant firearm muzzle flashes also look unusually realistic. One thing that's conspicuously and ironically missing, though, is any gore, presumably so the game could earn a T rating and maybe even to sanitize combat for the potential recruits the Army hopes to woo with the game.
not a lot of difference, except for the sums of money spent on game development and government backing. somehow the enemy isn’t supposed to be doing the same things we do to promote its ideologies. isn’t that called hypocrisy?...
from the bbc:
The world's tallest man has saved two dolphins by using his long arms to reach into their stomachs and pull out dangerous plastic shards.
Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun was called in after the dolphins swallowed plastic used around their pool at an aquarium in Fushun, north-east China.
Attempts to use instruments failed as the dolphins contracted their stomachs.
Guinness World Records list Mr Bao, 54, as the world's tallest living man at 2m 36.1cm (7ft 8.95in).
Veterinarians turned to Mr Bao after attempts to extract the plastic shards at the aquarium in Fushun, Liaoning Province, had failed.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
from sky & telescope magazine:
Best Meteor Shower of 2006
This year a nearly full Moon made it hard to see the faintest Perseid meteors, but conditions are quite favorable for the Geminids. The Moon won't rise until roughly 1:30 a.m. on the night of December 13–14, when the meteor shower will be at its strongest. And even after moonrise, skyglow from the waning crescent should be only a minor problem as long as you face west, with your back to the Moon.
Meteor activity should be strongest around 11:00 December 14th, Universal Time. (6 a.m. EST or 3 a.m. PST). But the peak is fairly broad, so there should be plenty of meteors all night long. The number of meteors you'll actually see will depend more on the height of the radiant, which lies just a little west of Castor. At mid-northern latitudes, the radiant is well up in the sky by 9 p.m., and it's nearly at its highest just before moonrise, when you may see 100 meteors per hour. The rate should be about half that on the night of December 12–13, and although the shower usually falls off more quickly than it rises, there should still be residual activity on December 14-15.
Another incentive to stay outside at night is the possibility of northern lights. The huge sunspot complex 10930, which released one of the most powerful solar flares ever recorded on December 5th, produced another X-class flare early on December 13th. Material from that blast is due to reach Earth on December 14th, with an increased likelihood of auroral activity.
The Geminids are unusual in several regards. Most meteor showers are associated with comets, but the parent body of the Geminid meteoroids is the asteroid 3200 Phaethon. Like most asteroids, but unlike the great majority of comets, Phaethon orbits the Sun in the same direction as Earth, and also in more or less the same plane. Phaethon is moving faster than Earth when it crosses our orbit, so the meteoroids that it generates approach our planet from behind. That means that they strike our atmosphere at a fairly low relative velocity. We strike most other meteoroid streams either at oblique angles or head-on, and the meteoroids within most streams are moving much faster than the Geminds, having "fallen" from the outer reaches of the solar system rather than the relatively nearby asteroid zone.
Because they're moving almost in unison with our planet, the Geminid meteors cross the sky at a slow, majestic pace compared to most meteors. And because they "catch" us from behind, they're visible in the evening sky — on Earth's trailing side in its orbit around the Sun — as well as in the morning sky, when most meteor showers are at their strongest.
from the bbc:
Final stage for telescope design
A project to build the world's biggest telescope has been given the go-ahead to move into its final design stage.
European Southern Observatory (Eso) officials have given approval for a detailed design study of the European Extremely Large Telescope to proceed.
The 57m euro (£38m) design study, will make it possible to start construction of the telescope in three years time.
The telescope's mirror will be 42m in diameter - four times bigger than any other currently in existence.
the telescope was originally to be built and operated in chile, home to some of the world’s largest optical telescopes, but scientists say they can extend the life of the telescope’s giant mirror by at least a thousand years by building and operating it in washington, d.c., because the crap skies there will ensure it will only get 11 days use a year…
from the new york times
EPA Fuel Economy Regulations
EPA's regulations giving instructions on how to test vehicles, measure, calculate and report fuel economy information for CAFE, labeling and Gas Guzzler Tax determination are found in the Code of Federal Regulations, 40 CFR Part 600 -- Fuel Economy of Motor Vehicles14.
before any of you start partying like it’s 1999…..
so no gas guzzler tax then on the most popular, best selling vehicles in the
that’s right; all monster suv’s and hummers are exempted from the gas guzzler tax.
the 2007 lincoln navigator is aptly named. it's the world's first production vehicle that spans two time zones...
way to go, Empty Promises Ahead!
how's that arctic sea-ice looking?...
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A new poll commissioned for the Associated Press suggests that disapproval of the President's policies on
… the poll omitted to reveal that the 29% approving of the president’s policies in
c) military contractors
d) oil companies
e) thought they were paying too much tax on their share dividends
f) tony blair
g) george bush
. . . to protect human health and the environment
this is what it says on their web page…
from the new york times:
The Environmental Protection Agency disclosed last week that it had revised — stood on their head is more like it — procedures it has used for 25 years to set standards for air pollutants like soot and lead. The administration said the change will streamline decision making. Perhaps it will. It will also have the further effect of decreasing the role of science in policy making while increasing the influence of the agency’s political appointees.
This is disheartening, but not surprising. Whether the issue is birth control or global warming or clean air, this administration has already acquired a special place in regulatory history for the audacity with which it has manipulated or muzzled science (and in some cases individual scientists) that might discomfit its industrial allies or interfere with its political agenda.
The E.P.A. is required every five years to review scientific research and set new exposure levels for six pollutants identified as hazardous to human health. Normally, recommendations are first solicited from two groups of scientists: professional staff members inside the agency and independent outside scientists. Those recommendations are then sent to the department’s senior officers — nearly all political appointees — who shape departmental policy and then send it to the White House and Office of Management and Budget for clearance.
Under the new process, initial reviews will be done by staff scientists and political appointees, who together will produce a synopsis of “policy-relevant” science — which sounds ominously like science tailored to predetermined policy outcomes. The independent scientists, meanwhile, will be frozen out until the very end, when they will be allowed to comment on proposals that will have already generated considerable momentum.
The betting among environmental groups is that these new procedures will lead to weaker air quality standards more in keeping with industry objectives — indeed, the American Petroleum Institute is already claiming credit for some of the changes. The new procedures will also help spare the agency the sort of public embarrassment it suffered in October, when its final standards for soot turned out to be far weaker than those recommended earlier (and virtually unanimously) by its staff scientists and the outside consultants.
Under the new process, when the E.P.A. considers how it will set air pollution standards, the only debate it will have is with itself.
perhaps they should consider changing their name to Empty Promises Ahead...
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
from the bbc:
Half the population of
apparently, residents in boston, lincs. admitted to having their fish & chips delivered...
next targets on team nutty's list:
siemens business systems, at 9,985
georgia state university, currently lying at 9,962
norwegian hydrographic service, at 9,926
pitney bowes, at 9,919
potomac highlands amateur radio club, at 9,914